The most talented athletes aren”t always the top performers. Blue-chip recruits and high draft choices often fail to meet expectations, whether it”s due to poor coaching or lacking proper motivation.
The same is true in business. The most talented and competent employees sometimes fall flat – a conundrum that can often be improved by strong management, much in the same way athletes sometimes improve when they move to a coach with great motivational and leadership skills.
But what does it take for a business to motivate staff toward success and build a winning team?
“A paycheck and some form of job security is not in itself sufficient employee motivation,” said Dr. Janet Hecht, managing principal of Talent by Design Consulting in Lawrenceville, which provides management and talent consulting. “Even the best employees will not perform at optimal levels without some form of motivation and feeling valued and appreciated.”
Showing employees they are valued as individuals – and not just workers – can make a big difference in their level of motivation. This may mean taking time to identify what matters to different employees.
“To the extent possible, leaders need to customize or personalize their motivation techniques to fit the needs of the individual,” said Dr. Douglas Johnson, associate professor of management at Georgia Gwinnett College. “While some employees are motivated by money, others appreciate awards, gifts, etc.”
In addition to concrete motivators like money and gifts, Douglas also notes that employees often feel taken for granted, and a simple thank you can make a big difference in an employee”s motivation.
“Instilling a sense of pride in their work is important for motivating employees,” said Hecht. “One of the top motivators is public praise and recognition, and it costs very little. The smallest things can sometimes make the biggest difference.”
There is no “one-size-fits-all” prescription for motivating individuals. For Children”s Healthcare of Atlanta, which has been named to Fortune Magazine”s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America for five consecutive years, motivating employees involves more than one tactic.